Not Your Typical Novice: Teaching a Blind Man to Shoot a Gun

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Blind shooter
Courtesy Michael E.

Reader Michael E. writes:

As a Second Amendment enthusiast and gun owner, I do my best to educate as many people as I can about firearms and everything surrounding them from concealed carry laws to learning how to put two shots in one hole at the range. I attend a small to medium sized liberal arts school in Colorado, so I’m often surrounded by anti-gunners and those who question my perspective surrounding firearms.

I try to go out of my way to educate these people as much as possible and have successfully turned more than a few anti-gunners and generated new range buddies.

I have taught many of my friends from different backgrounds how to shoot and the safety protocols that surround firearms. Every one of them now loves shooting. I have also now taught parents of three of my friends how to shoot, most residing on the east coast. One of those sessions, though, wasn’t your typical range session.

My friend’s father was coming in town and relayed to his son that he wanted to shoot with me, so of course I said yes. The only drawback was that my friend’s father, Ed, is blind. That’s right, he’s 100% sightless.

I believe that no matter what physical disability someone has, they still have the right to shoot a gun with the proper instruction. We entered my local shooting range and told the RSO that we would like to rent a couple of lanes and that I would be in the same lane as Ed. Not surprisingly the RSO had quite an alarmed look on his face, but recognized me and gave us the green light.

Along with my GLOCK 19, we rented a SIG P226 and a Beretta 92FS and made our way to our assigned lane. My first goal was to get him familiar with the lane constraints. Once he was comfortable, we moved on to the handguns.

After running his hands and fingers along each side barrier and feeling the edges of the table, he had a picture in his head of his surroundings. After that, I proceeded to hand him my cleared and unloaded GLOCK 19 so he could get familiar with it.

I explained to him where and what the slide lock, magazine release, and slide did and how to use them. Once that was complete and he understood everything, I told him to aim the gun straight in front of him at the target. I then gave him a loaded magazine and, based on our previous instruction, he knew exactly where to put the magazine and how to rack the slide.

The blind man was ready to send rounds down range.

It’s important to note here that I was next to him the whole time with my hands on his arms directing his follow-up shots. After each shot he took, I told him if he was high or low, left or right, and I would slightly adjust his arms toward the center of the target.

After he emptied the GLOCK, we switched to the SIG, and to the Beretta. We went through the same process with each gun, getting familiar with the unloaded firearm and then sending live ammo down range.

As the day went on, his groupings got tighter. He was probably a better shot than most sighted shooters who haven’t had any instruction at all. While unusual, the session was a definite success.

Teaching someone to shoot takes lots of patience and is a big responsibility. The reward at the end, though, is worth it every time.

P.S. Ed loved shooting so much that we went back the next day and shot full auto MP5’s and M16’s.

[ED: August is National Shooting Sports Month. Who have you taught to shoot this month?]

 

This post was originally published in 2016. 

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24 COMMENTS

  1. I liked reading this. Good for everyone all around.

    My only question is: What about people at the range who shoot while brainless? Seen my fair share.

  2. Cool! I’ve been at a gun counter(Cabelas) where a guy was buying a gun. He had no hands. The 2nd Amendment don’t judge!

  3. at first thought this seems quite pointless, but with some practice this guy might be relatively superior to a sighted person in a low-light situation.

    • Even better than the sighted, since blind folks take a lot of ‘cues’ from their other senses, like sound. An attacker thinking a blind guy would be an easy mark would be in for a rude surprise.

      At least as long as his heart was beating while bleeding out, anyways… 😉

      • there would be limitations sure, but I’m thinking a training range with hanging plate targets so he could hear the impacts, mobile so they could be moved between sessions, and a receiver/speaker behind each plate, so he could practice orienting to the sound.

  4. Not the first sightless shooter I have known of. A neighbor mine was blind and had a 12 gauge pump. He could field strip it and reassemble it with ease. He asked me to look it over every once in awhile for cleaning and maintenance which he couldn’t do as well.
    I never gave it a second thought that he was blind.

  5. A well pointing firegunm like a 1911 .
    When I had cataracts and couldn’t see I had a friend tap on the target with a long stick, kung fu blind man.
    I ran out of friends but never went hungry.

  6. Our training group, Central Alabama Firearms Trainers (CAFT) has had the honor and privilege of assisting many wounded Veterans over the years. They know, or knew, how to shoot, but lacked facilities and assistance. Through the rehab facility in Birmingham, we were able to accommodate some of these needs by providing instructors, range facilities, training classrooms, firearms and ammo. Many, if not most of these veterans were in the blind, or low vision levels of sight.
    If you have not helped a wounded veteran, or a handicapped person to learn to shoot, find a way. It is one of the most rewarding experiences around.

  7. I run a Firearm Training Company in Alabama- Central Alabama Firearms Training and up until Covid hit we would host “Operation Night Vision” for the Lakeshore Foundation here in Birmingham. They would bring in Veterans from all over that had lost their eyesight and help them do things they would not have the opportunity to do otherwise. We would run the shooting side by using The Irondale Police Range and put out steel plates and use suppressed firearms. The steel plates gave them instant satisfaction and feedback. They were amazing and loved every minute of it as we as well.

  8. My blind father had the opinion that a blind person should be able to do anything that any sighted person could do. He was fairly accurate with a 12 gage, and he funded a shooting range at the local school for the blind. It was indoor, had large backstops, and a small bell for the bullseye. I don’t think it is active anymore, but I did volunteer there a few times.

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